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Entrepreneur of the Term: Eric Migicovsky

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

I met Eric Migicovsky from the SYDE ’09 class on a sunny afternoon in Allerta’s office.  It’s on a quaint street just off Columbia Street.  From street-view, one has no idea it’s actually housing a high-tech brewery.  Eric has a jovial and relaxed attitude than can only be described as “the self-employment glow”.  Having recently worked as an office bottom-feeder at a certain fruit company of large networth, I can only envy how much he enjoys being at work.

In this family style dwelling, Eric and three other like-minded and creative individuals are creating a “smartwatch” to be coupled with BlackBerrys.  It created quite the stir when featured on Crackberry last year, and plenty of BlackBerry owners all round the world have expressed interest. Check out getinpulse.com to read more about the watch.

Eric was first inspired to create such a device while biking in the Netherlands two years ago, where he was an exchange student.  Reaching for one’s cellphone while biking on the riverbank is not without risk, but an important call might just warrant a stop.  A miniature caller-ID display on one’s wrist seems like the perfect solution, thus the InPulse was born.

Eric’s idea was put into motion when he joined Velocity’s inaugural class in 2008.  “Velocity taught me how to talk to people, how to network,” he reflects.  He was never shy about sharing his idea and the feedback he got really pushed him to bring this idea to fruition.  Also through Velocity, he presented his idea at the Impact Conference and other similar entrepreneurial conventions.  The business case prize he won through going to these conferences are partly funding InPulse’s development.

Velocity brings in venture capitalists frequently to chat with the residents.  Naturally, I assumed that Eric’s project is backed by a VC he connected with at Velocity.  However, I was told that 90% of start-ups in Canada are not backed by venture capital.  It’s definitely not the only way–Allerta received funding from the Ontario Centre of Excellence and other organizations that support entrepreneurship.  A quick Google search on my part turns up plenty of programs that provide grants, loans, support, and mentorship for young entrepreneurs (young = under 30).

In all possible ways, Allerta seems to be on a great track to become a successful business.  By the time this issue reaches your hands, Eric should be eagerly awaiting or already unboxing the batch of electronics from China that will allow a thousand prototypes to be assembled.  I couldn’t get a release date out of Eric, but my trip has confirmed the Blackberry watch’s existence.  I saw 3 fully assembled prototypes and got to try the demo UI.  The watch body is a solid piece of machined aluminum (please refrain from making Apple connections here), and feels a lot lighter in your hand than it looks in the picture.

Advice from Eric Migicovsky to our readers who aspire to be entrepreneurs: Just do it.  Serious entrepreneurship takes a great deal of devotion, so for those of you who want to create a product and flourish in the market, get to it before you start losing hair and have babies to feed!

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